MORE than 300 council homes in Colchester have been classed as not up to standard.

The Decent Homes Standard is a minimum standard council and housing association homes should meet according to the Government.

Under the standard, council or housing association homes must:

  •  be free from any hazard that poses a serious threat to your health or safety
  • be in a reasonable state of repair
  • have reasonably modern facilities
  • have efficient heating and insulation.

At Colchester Council’s Scrutiny panel meeting, data showed out of the 5,867 Colchester Borough Homes properties, 319 were rated as “non decent”.

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This is the equivalent of 5.44 per cent of the entire portfolio.

It is an improvement on last year which saw 16.15 per cent of homes considered to be non decent but chairman of the meeting Beverly Davies said it was still concerning.

The Conservative councillor said: “A total of 319 residents have non decent properties and if you are one of those people, that is an awful lot.

“It does concern me.”

Homes could fail to meet the standard include if:

  •  there are hazards such as persistent damp or a heating or electrical system which is in poor condition
  • the bathroom has not been improved in the past 30 years
  •  the kitchen does not have enough space
  •  it is not warm because of an inefficient heating system or ineffective insulation.

Gareth Mitchell, chief executive of Colchester Borough Homes, said there has been slightly less investment in the properties due to financial pressures.

He said it has been a challenging year due to poor financial returns.

He said: “The reduction of investment means we have had to smooth that work out over a longer period of time.

“We have now increased our inspections and the amount of resident liaisons.”

His report for the Scrutiny panel added: “Our aim is to deliver great services that make a difference and be the trusted choice for local housing.

“We will achieve this by delivering services that are valued by our customers and serving our communities.

“To do this we will focus on customer satisfaction, value for money and positive outcomes in the community.”

Tina Bourne (Labour), councillor responsible for housing, said she was proud of the work achieved by Colchester Borough Homes adding: “Non decent does not mean it is non-liveable, it means they may have to wait an extra couple of years for a new bathroom or kitchen.”